Captain America: Civil War
Many have dubbed the past few years as the “Age of the Comic Book Movie,” with the two leading comic book companies, Marvel and DC, each launching their respective cinematic universes. Several movies featuring heroes and villains from both companies have since been announced, with at least six slated to come out in 2016 alone. Of these, Captain America: Civil War was arguably the most anticipated. With its DC counterpart, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, having come out just a month before to a lukewarm reception, Civil War rides on the same concept of pitting well-loved heroes, usually on the same side, against each other.
Whose side are you on?
When a superhero punches a villain through a building, it’s a thrilling visual to see on screen—but consider the collateral damage. Captain America: Civil War seems to be the first comic book movie to really put the civilian casualties of these over-the-top fight scenes in the spotlight. After another set of accidental casualties in the wake of one of The Avengers’ battles, the UN makes an accord that forces active superheroes to operate only under the orders of a special panel, essentially turning them into a branch of the military. The Avengers themselves debate on whether or not to sign their names on the accords—with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) at the forefront of the disagreement. Thus, the conflict of the movie is born.
The actual Civil War part of the plot, however, takes a backseat for a good portion of the movie to the Winter Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) plotline. It was a bit of a letdown to see the debate regarding the superheroes’ accountability for their actions not tapped to its fullest potential, especially considering that the Civil War in the comics was so big an event that it ran through many of Marvel’s most prominent titles. However, it can be forgiven when taking into account that this movie is not only a sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron, but also Captain America: Winter Soldier. In that sense, the movie meshes the plotlines together well, and makes for a very cohesive story given all the elements it has to include.
On building a universe
Comic books aren’t known for being easy to understand. With so many continuities and plots being interwoven with one other, it’s often a struggle to follow story arcs that span over more than one title. On that note, Captain America: Civil War manages to throw in bits from several Marvel story arcs while still making it easy enough for the casual moviegoer to follow. With scenes building up and presenting the films’ different conflicts, the story is told in a very fluid, natural way.
This can probably be attributed to how well the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has built itself up over the years. From the very first installments, such as Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, the MCU has been consistent for the most part, providing a good foundation for each new release. As a result, the newest movies don’t waste too much time with introductions, instead throwing characters that have already been established and built on into scenes and playing with their relationships.
Meet your heroes
Marvel movies owe a lot of their success to the amazing characterization brought by their actors. Captain America: Civil War introduces Spiderman (Tom Holland), one of Marvel’s most popular properties, to the MCU. Holland’s portrayal of this iconic character is ripped straight from the pages of the classic Spiderman comics, perfectly capturing the feel of both the young Peter Parker and his talkative alter ego.
Another recent addition to the MCU is Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), whose origin story was also integrated into the plot. This marks the first cinematic appearance of the character, and Boseman’s performance leaves fans crying for a stand-alone movie. His character’s arc is developed and told well, and the hero holds his own alongside Marvel movie staples such as Iron Man and Black Widow.
Fresh from the success of his own movie, Paul Rudd reprises his role as Ant-Man. Despite not being new to the MCU, this is the first movie wherein he interacts with the other heroes—a fact not evident when looking at the character’s chemistry with the rest of the team. He brings just the right amount of comic relief to the movie to make it enjoyable, without undermining the serious nature of the story.
The chemistry between all the characters is probably most palpable during the fight scenes. Marvel movies are known for their great effects and well-executed action, and Civil War is no exception. On top of that, the fact that the heroes were fighting each other allowed for even more witty quips and dialogue, which made the fight scenes all the more entertaining. A lot of the movie’s action sequences have jumpy cuts that make it slightly hard to follow, but the humor brought by the actors, combined with the generally epic feel of the film, makes that small lapse forgivable.
The Marvel movie
Bottom line: Captain America: Civil War is the epitome of a Marvel movie. From the thrilling action, to the witty fight scene quips, to the Stan Lee cameo, this embodies exactly what everyone’s come to expect from a Marvel movie—and then some. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is essentially up to the viewer; but with a whopping 84 million dollars’ profit in the international box office within three days of the its release, the general consensus is definitely good.